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Living Well in Yalobusha County

By: Pamela Redwine
Nutrition and Food Safety
Area Agent

In the last article, we focused on part of the vitamin B complex.  Thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin were covered.  This article continues to look at the B vitamins.  This includes pantothenic acid, biotin, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. These vitamins also play an important role in keeping us healthy

The B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins.  Because of the fragile nature of water-soluble vitamins, they can be damaged during processing and extreme heat from certain cooking methods.  These vitamins are also excreted through the body when not needed.  This is why it is important that we try to eat a variety of foods that contain the different vitamins, especially the water-soluble vitamins.      

Pantothenic acid, and biotin.  Help our bodies produce energy and help us use the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats we get from our food.  It is found in meat, fish, poultry, whole-grain cereals, and legumes.  To a lesser extent it is in a variety of fruits and vegetables.  Biotin is produced from our intestinal bacteria and is also found in a wide variety of foods including cauliflower, egg yolks, yeast breads, peanuts and cereal.

Folate, Has been given much attention over the years because of its role in lowering the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida.  Folate works with vitamin B12 to form hemoglobin in red blood cells and may also help prevent heart disease.  A deficiency of folate early in a woman’s pregnancy along with certain genetic conditions has been linked to neural tube defects in infants. The need for folate occurs very early in pregnancy, since the brain and spinal cord are among the first parts to develop during the pregnancy.  The current recommendation is 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid per day to be consumed at least 6 weeks prior to conception. This will help insure that there is sufficient folate should a woman become pregnant.       

Vitamin B6 helps your body make nonessential amino acid which are necessary to make body cells.  These amino acids are called nonessential because they can be made by the body when the necessary components are available like vitamin B6.  This vitamin helps produce body chemicals like insulin, hemoglobin, and antibodies to help fight infection.  Deficiencies are rarely seen in adults, but can occur in infants.  Symptoms of a deficiency in infants include convulsions, nausea, and certain skin conditions.  Breast milk and properly prepared infant formulas contain enough vitamin B6 to prevent a deficiency in infants.  

Vitamin B12  works closely with folate to make red blood cells.  It is also a vital component of many body chemicals. It helps your body use fatty acids and some amino acids.  If your body lacks the proper amount of vitamin B12 a specific type of anemia, called pernicious anemia, can develop. In the case of vitamin B12, the deficiency may either be caused by having too little of the vitamin or the inability of the body to effectively absorb the vitamin.  

Vitamin B12 comes primarily from animal products including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy foods.  Some fortified foods may also contain it.  Because the best sources are from animal sources, getting enough vitamin B12 each day should be a key planning goal for strict vegetarians.   

Hopefully this information has been helpful to you in making sure you and your family are healthy.  There are many essential nutrients that are available to us when we eat a variety of foods.  That is why it is so important to incorporate different vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free milk, and lean protein into our everyday eating patterns.  If you would like more information on healthy eating and appropriate physical activity, contact your local Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Recipe of the Week:

Light All-American Cheeseburgers
1 package Jennie-O Turkey Storeâ Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast
1/3 cup catsup
3 tablespoons seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated or finely chopped onion
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices (1/4 inch) red or yellow onion
Cooking spray
4 slices fat-free American cheese
4 kaiser rolls, split
4 slices tomato
4 leaves romaine or red leaf lettuce
Optional condiments; mayonnaise, catsup, mustard, sliced pickles.
In a large bowl, combine turkey, catsup, bread crumbs, onion, egg white, garlic salt and pepper.  Mix well and shape into 4 patties about 1/2 inch thick.  Cover and refrigerate while preparing charcoal grill. Coat patties and onion slices with cooking spray.  Grill patties and onion over medium coals 6 to 7 minutes per side or until not longer pink in center.  Top patties with cheese during last minute of grilling.  Place rolls cut side down on grill during last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking to toast lightly.  Serve patties in rolls, topped with grilled onions, tomato and lettuce.
  Serve with desired condiments.  Makes 4 servings

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